Indiana Sexual Assault Laws: Offenses and Penalties

September 26, 2022

By Keffer Hirschauer LLP

Indiana Sexual Assault Laws: Offenses and Penalties  

If you have been accused of sexual assault, do not underestimate the severity of the allegations you face. Sex crime convictions can wreak havoc on one’s reputation, employment future, and constitutional rights. They can also carry severe legal penalties. Indiana sexual assault laws classify the most serious sexual assault offenses as Level 1 felonies, with a sentencing range of 20 to 40 years in prison, accompanied by a $10,000 fine. To reach the best possible outcome in your case, you’ll need to retain the services of an aggressive and experienced sex crimes lawyer in Indiana as soon as possible.  

No matter where you are in Indiana, the sex crime defense attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP stand ready to defend you against these allegations. Our criminal defense team has a keen understanding of how Indiana sex crimes are prosecuted and can formulate aggressive defense strategies that thwart the prosecution’s expected attacks. But you must act now; your future is at stake. To begin working on the best course of action to minimize or eliminate your charges, call Keffer Hirschauer LLP today at (317) 751-7186 or schedule a free consultation online.  

Defining Indiana Sexual Assault Laws 

Sexual assault is a broad term that encompasses a variety of criminal offenses. Therefore, there are not any explicit Indiana sexual assault laws. Instead, the state has a handful of laws relating to specific sex crimes that fall under the traditional definition of sexual assault. These offenses include rape, child molesting, sexual battery, criminal confinement, sexual misconduct with a minor, and sexual misconduct by a service provider.  

Rape 

Indiana Code 35-42-4-1 defines rape as knowingly or intentionally having sexual intercourse with another person. Furthermore, it goes on to include knowingly or intentionally causing another person to perform or submit to other sexual conduct when:  

  • the other person is compelled by force or imminent threat of force; 
  • the other person is unaware that sexual intercourse or other sexual conduct is occurring; 
  • the other person is so mentally disabled or deficient that consent to sexual intercourse or other sexual conduct cannot be given; or 
  • the person disregarded the other person’s attempts to physically, verbally, or by other visible conduct refuse the person’s acts 

Child Molesting 

In accordance with the Indiana sexual assault laws outlined in Indiana Code 35-42-4-3, child molesting is defined by knowingly or intentionally performing or submitting to sexual intercourse (or other sexual contact) or fondling or touching with the intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires of either party with a person under the age of 14-years-old. One may also be charged with attempted child molesting if the person believed the individual to be a child under the age of 14-years-old at the time they attempted to commit the offense.  

Sexual Battery 

Indiana Code 35-42-4-8 outlines which actions made by a person with the intent to arouse or satisfy their own sexual desires or the sexual desires of another person can be classified as sexual battery. Actions constituting sexual battery in Indiana include: 

  • Touching another person when that person is compelled to submit to the touching by force or imminent threat of force 
  • Touching another person that is so mentally disabled or deficient that consent cannot be given 
  • Touching another person’s genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or the female breast when that person is unaware that the touching is imminent or occurring

Criminal Confinement 

The Indiana sexual assault laws contained in Indiana Code 35-42-3-3 define criminal confinement as knowingly or intentionally confining another person without their consent. Criminal confinement can take many different forms but regarding sexual assault, it often comes in the form of confinement and either moderate or serious bodily injury. It also may include the criminal confinement of a minor, which can carry a harsh penalty, especially if that minor is under the age of 14 and the offender is not the child’s guardian or parent.  

Sexual Misconduct with a Minor 

The age of consent in Indiana is 16-years-old, therefore Indiana Code 35-42-4-9  states that individuals over the age of 18 commit sexual misconduct with a minor when they knowingly or intentionally perform or submit to intercourse or other sexual conduct (such as fondling or touching with the intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires of either party) with a child under the age of 16. However, under what is known as the “Indiana Romeo and Juliet law,” this does not apply to consensual sexual activities between two parties engaged in an ongoing personal relationship where the person is no more than four years older than the other. 

Sexual Misconduct by a Service Provider 

Outlined in Indiana Code 35-44.1-3-10, sexual misconduct with a service provider is a criminal offense that occurs when a service provider knowingly or intentionally engages in sexual intercourse or other sexual conduct with a person they have a duty to lawfully supervise. For the purposes of this law, service providers are defined as public servants, persons employed by the government, or persons who provide goods or services to a person who is subject to lawful detention and have a duty to legally supervise the victim. Additionally, for the purposes of this law, lawful supervision pertains to the IDOC, a court, a probation department, a community corrections program, or parole. For example, under this law, it is clearly illegal for a prison employee to engage in intercourse or other sexual conduct with an inmate, even if the interaction was consensual.  

Indiana Sexual Assault Laws and College Campuses  

Allegations of sexual assault on a college campus often follow a different path than purely criminal allegations. The reason being is that colleges that accept funding from the Department of Education have their own reporting and hearing protocols mandated by the federal government. This is called Title IX, and the processes are different for every school. For example, Indiana University Title IX procedures are drastically different from the Title IX procedures at Purdue University. Therefore, hiring a Indiana Title IX defense attorney from Keffer Hirschauer LLP who is deeply experienced in this complicated area of law would go a long way in protecting your future and minimizing your penalties. Our attorneys are well-qualified to successfully represent Indiana college students, employees, and others accused of Title IX violations. In fact, our founding partner, Bradley Keffer, is a public advocate for changing Indiana college and university Title IX procedures to improve their fairness for those accused. Call us today at (317) 751-7186 or schedule a free consultation to begin crafting your Title IX defense in Indiana.  

Criminal Penalties for Sexual Assault in Indiana 

Indiana sexual assault laws are clear about one thing: convicted offenders will receive a harsh penalty with prolonged sentences, in alignment with the Indiana Sentencing Guidelines. When reviewing penalties for the offenses listed above, the lowest level felony an offender may receive for an Indiana sexual assault is Level 6, which carries a penalty of 6 months to 2.5 years in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000. The highest-level conviction for sexual assault, however, is a Level 1 felony. This is a serious sentence and may result in a sentence of 20 to 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.  

In addition to the criminal penalties for sexual assault in Indiana, some convictions may also impose other penalties. This may include ordering the offender to pay restitution under Indiana Code 35-50-5-3 for expenses related to pregnancy and childbirth if the pregnancy is a result of the offense. It may also include imposing harsh restrictions on the offender post-release, per their offense classification type, such as “sex offender,” or “sex and violent offender.”  

Indiana Criminal Penalties for Rape  

If convicted of rape in Indiana, the lowest penalty one may face is a Level 3 felony. However, that penalty can be escalated to a Level 1 felony if the offense was committed by using or threatening deadly force; while armed with a deadly weapon; resulted in serious bodily injury to a person other than the defendant; was facilitated by furnishing the victim, without their knowledge, with a drug or controlled substance; or while knowing that victim was furnished with a drug or controlled substance without the victim’s knowledge.  

Indiana Criminal Penalties for Child Molestation 

If convicted of child molestation in Indiana, the lowest penalty one may face is a Level 4 felony. Cases like these involved a person who performs or submits to any touching or fondling of a child under 14 years of age with the intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires of either party. However, that penalty can be escalated to a Level 2 felony if it is committed by using or threatening deadly force; while armed with a weapon; or by giving or knowing the child has been given a controlled substance or drug.  

When a person knowingly or intentionally performs or submits to sexual intercourse or other sexual contact with a child under 14 years of age with the intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires of either party, they can be charged with a Level 3 felony. However, this sentence can be escalated to a Level 1 felony when committed by a person at least 21 years old; by using or threatening deadly force or while armed with a deadly weapon; results in serious bodily injury; by giving or knowing the child has been given a controlled substance or drug; or results in the transmission of a serious sexually transmitted disease, which the offender knew they had when they committed the crime.  

Indiana Criminal Penalties for Sexual Battery 

The lowest criminal penalty for sexual battery, which often involves the touching of another person without consent to satisfy sexual desire, is a Level 6 felony. This penalty, however, can be escalated to a Level 4 penalty if the offense was committed by using or threatening deadly force; while armed with a deadly weapon; was facilitated by furnishing the victim, without their knowledge, with a drug or controlled substance; or while knowing that victim was furnished with a drug or controlled substance without the victim’s knowledge. 

Indiana Criminal Penalties for Criminal Confinement  

At its lowest level of severity, a conviction for criminal confinement is a Level 6 felony in Indiana. However, the penalties for this offense increase when a variety of factors are involved in the crime. For example, if someone confines someone without their consent and they are under the age of 14 and not the offender’s child, it is a Level 5 Felony; or if someone confines another person without consent and it results in serious bodily injury to that person, it is a Level 3 felony. 

Indiana Criminal Penalties for Sexual Misconduct with a Minor 

When a person who is at least 18 years old knowingly or intentionally submits to any fondling or touching with a child less than 16 years old, but older than 14 years old, with the intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires of either party, they can be charged with a Level 6 felony. This charge can be escalated to a Level 5 felony if committed by a person who is 21 years old or older. Furthermore, it can be escalated to a Level 2 felony if committed by using or threatening deadly force or while armed with a deadly weapon; results in serious bodily injury; by giving or knowing the child has been given a controlled substance or drug. 

When the offense involves sexual intercourse or other sexual conduct with a child less than 16 years old, but older than 14 years old, the offender can be charged with a Level 5 felony. This charge can be escalated to a Level 4 felony if committed by a person who is 21 years old or older; or a Level 1 felony if committed by using or threatening deadly force or while armed with a deadly weapon; results in serious bodily injury; by giving or knowing the child has been given a controlled substance or drug. 

Indiana Criminal Penalties for Sexual Misconduct by a Service Provider  

When a service provider knowingly or intentionally engages in sexual intercourse or other sexual conduct with a person subjected to lawful detention or supervision, they may be charged with a Level 5 felony. However, that penalty will increase to a Level 4 felony if the offender is at least 18 years old, and the victim is less than 18 years old.  

Need to Speak with an Attorney Today?  

If you have been accused of a crime or had sexual assault allegations levied upon you on a college campus, it is vital that you have the right voice representing you at each stage of the trial; from the initial hearing to the final verdict, and if required, through the sentencing process and even post-conviction. While public defenders are available to you, having a privately hired, experienced team of attorneys familiar with these types of criminal defense is the best way to protect your rights, your reputation, and your future. Indiana criminal defense attorneys from Keffer Hirschauer LLP can ably and skillfully handle your criminal defense throughout the term of your case. Let us help you work at identifying the best course of action, including reviewing the best possible defenses and seeking less harsh penalties. Call Keffer Hirschauer LLP today at (317) 751-7186 or schedule a free consultation online. 

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